How to Make 808 Kicks

Just a nice quick and dirty sound design tutorial for you this week guys – create your own 808 bass sounds!

The Roland TR-808 is such a classic machine that people tend to call any boomy, subby kick an ’808′. The truth is that the huge great ‘booooooooom’ sound that people associate with them doesn’t come straight out of the unit; whilst the TR-808 creates a really meaty sound it’s the extra effects that people have used over the years along with modifications, clones, and generally sounds that are in the spirit of the 808 that have turned the 808 into sub kick royalty.

How to make an 808 kick

How to Make 808 Kicks (or even better!)

In this video – which is a quick and dirty look mid OD studio refresh – we’ll show you how you can go about creating a huge subby kick (or even just a deep sub bass) that you can use straight on a track, layer underneath another kick for added grunt, or use as the basis for some extra processing to get a really unique sound. 808s have never been out of fashion, but recently they’re everywhere, and you can get such a nice sound out of a synth with way more configurability than you can with a sample. If you learn how to make 808 kicks – or at least, the kind of sub kick that a lot of people associate with the 808 – you’ll never have to spend precious time searching through a folder full of samples until you find the perfect one again! We’re using Reason’s simple Subtractor synth to make the bass kick, but you can use just about any subtractive synth to do exactly the same thing.

Nobody’s looking forward to the OD studio refresh more than us but I thought you’d appreciate something ugly over nothing beautiful, and we’ll keep putting out tutorials and videos until we can get things sorted out properly again! Let us know what you think and if you’ve any suggestions, let me know!

  • Scott Armstrong

    can we please have an ‘example file’ for this tutorial. ^_^

    • Chris

      Hi Scott, there’s not really an example file to give! A large part of this tutorial is to help you to get comfortable with synthesising this kind of sound so that you don’t have to settle for a sample (of course you could go on to sample the synth when you really get something you like!), and to be honest it will take you longer to find, load, and tweak a rudimentary preset than it would to just start from scratch :)

  • centomila

    Interesting. I love to understand how to create a specific sound. It’s really useful to appreciate all the the tools of synthesis. Also i love Malstrom. I’d like a physical synth exactly like it :D

  • simplicityisbeautymusic

    Great tutorial.Thank you. I’ve created a simple Combinator with subtractor and compressor in Reason and I’ve now got infinite synth kick possibilities.Looking forward to the next one :)

  • Josh Langfield

    Awesome! Thanks Chris!

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